Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Your Adult Child or Grandchild Get a Job

Are you doing just enough or just too much?

At Express Employment Professionals, we hear from plenty of parents looking to find their child or grandchild a job. And that’s totally fine! Whether it’s a quick summer job for a high school or college student or something more long-term, we’re here to help.

We get it. Finding a job is hard. And the more people helping your son, daughter, or grandchild look for a job, the better.

However, there are right and not-so-right ways to help these budding employees find a job. Let’s dig in.

DO: Mentor and Guide Them

The job search can be discouraging, both for you and your progeny. Maybe they graduated from college excited for employment, and quickly became disillusioned after multiple interviews that didn’t result in job offers.

Encourage your kid to apply to several jobs. Introduce them to online job search websites they might not be aware of, like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, or the job search sections of social media websites.

If your child can’t find anything to apply for, ask them to consider other work experience options. Community service, professional organizations, and even part-time work can still look great on a resume.

The key here is to do a bit of research and inspire your child to do the rest. Sometimes all they need is a jumpstart to realize what more is out there.

DON’T: Do All the Work

Make sure not to go off the deep end with research. This is for two main reasons. First, if you do everything, your kid isn’t learning what the job search is like. Young people job hop these days, and their first job is hardly ever the one they stay with long-term. If you do all of the hard work now, your child is going to have a rough go of it when it comes time to find the next job.

Second, too much information can be daunting for a young job seeker to go through. If you’ve gotten to the point where you have an entire folder packed with information for your son or daughter to go through, it might be time to stop. A huge amount of information can be scarier than one piece at a time. Again, just add a bit of spark to their job search fire and let them do the heavy lifting.

DO: Leverage Your Own Network

Getting a job can frequently come down to who you know, due to the simple fact that it’s easier to trust and work with someone you have some sort of connection with. Feel free to ask your friends and family if they know of any openings. If they do, ask if they’d like to see your child’s resume. Just avoid turning into the crazy aunt that contacts family members she hasn’t spoken to in years about cousin Timmy’s desire to be an entry-level CEO. All things in moderation.

DON’T: Apply to Jobs for Them

This is something that happens more than you might think. It can be as innocent as calling a hiring manager to ask about a job, or as bold as attending interviews with your child. Although you’re only trying to help, it can look unprofessional when a job seeker’s parent monopolizes the interview process.

For instance, one of our recruiters was once contacted by a woman inquiring about interview opportunities. The paperwork was submitted, and she was interviewed by phone. When she showed up for the in-person interview, she was accompanied by a young man. When asked who this was, she responded by saying it was her son, and he was there to interview. This was confusing for the recruiter, as he had been interviewing the woman up until this point. The son was not the one who was called in to interview.

You can recommend certain jobs to your child, but never fill out forms or make calls for them. The more companies hear from them directly, the better they’ll know your child. And that will help immensely in the interview.

DO: Contact Express Employment Professionals

Like we said before, we hear from plenty of parents looking to help their children or grandchildren find work. We’re happy to help! With more than 35 years of experience, we know what we’re doing. We’ve placed plenty of parents and children alike, and you’ll never pay a fee for our services.

Headquartered in Oklahoma City, OK, Express Employment Professionals is a leading staffing provider in the U.S and Canada. Contact your local Express office or fill out our online contact form.

Also, encourage your young job seeker to sign up for the Movin’ On Up Newsletter. We have plenty of job search tips waiting to be discovered.

Still not sure where to start? Check out our ParentGuide, part of our Job Genius educational program.

Do you have a child or grandchild looking for a job? How have you helped them in their job search? Let us know in the comments below!



  1. Kat

    Another addition I would offer is – if you don’t understand your child’s industry, do keep your suggestions and views to yourself. It can be really frustrating when parents make suggestions based on what it was like to search for work 10-20 years ago, or under other circumstances that bear zero resemblance to your own.

    My grandfather once butt in to tell my sister she needed to get a factory job, because he considered her contract work to be unstable. This was based on what young men did, back in ‘his day’, to find steady work. He was completely unaware of the fact that none of the major industrial companies anywhere in this vicinity hire without a minimum of a 2-year degree (which she doesn’t have) and that in this country most good IT jobs are contract, and her being a contract worker may not be as stable as working for Deere or Kone, but her experience and resume still make her a valuable employee that most companies will work to retain.

    On a similar note, when my son was first looking for work in his teens, his father kept telling him to “hit the pavement,” despite the fact that most of the fast food and other entry-level jobs in this area, are all with companies who do most of their applications online. I told him that while he shouldn’t ignore any Help Wanted signs he saw out in the world, walking around looking for those signs was by-and-large a waste of time. That job boards and the websites of local businesses were a better place to look for who is hiring.

    If you’re not familiar with the environment in which your child is looking for work, it can be quite rude – and even bordering on judgmental – to give your two-cents about how they should go about it. Best to simply offer your support, and let them know they can come to you for guidance or advice if they want it, rather than handing it around unsolicited.

    1. JL

      Great response! I’ve heard colleges tour kids through our plant and say “Don’t worry about the application as long as it’s all in your resume. Type “see resume.”” Horrible advice. Also the advice of “always go in person to submit your resume even if you did the online application.” To me, both of those state that the person can’t follow directions and are behind in the times. My system can parse resumes to get some of the data out, but that doesn’t tell me if their salary expectations are in line with the role or answer my pre-screening questions.

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